Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 3

Thistledown Girl

Alex Iby, Unsplash

Update: The time limit for the lightning contest has now expired. I’ll announce the winners when I post Episode 4. Hugs!

Welcome back one and all!

Writing Process

I really do intend to promote everyone who named a character for this serial.  Yes, that’s a lot of characters… but I will try to do it in a way that doesn’t overwhelm or confuse the story.  I hope to avoid reader-overwhelm and character chaos as much as I can.  

In fact, I’m adding a page with very brief information about each character.  I’m not happy with the page, but you might find it minutely helpful, so I’ll go ahead and post it.  I hope to update the page and improve on it.  However, I gave it too much writing-time this weekend. Apparently the free version of WordPress I use isn’t compatible with table apps…  but here goes nothing.

I’m not delaying the disclosure of Bedlam’s story-opening, big, trouble-causing vision as part of a strategy.  I’m flying by the seat of my pants (too bad I don’t have wings, huh?), and the story just hasn’t worked around that way, despite my initial intentions.

About This Episode

This time we see a snapshot of that other, darker faery-verse.  Bedlam’s visions seem to become more real to her as they progress.  

If you’re playing catch-up, click here for the first episode.

Thistledown

Midsummer Bedlam

Boy field smoke-ball aziz-acharki-290990

Aziz Acharki, Unsplash

Another Vision

The ringing in my ears overwhelmed everything else.  I could hardly breathe.  The room swayed.  The people I respected most in all of Thistledown were gathered in the kitchen of Peaches Dragonfly.

I was shocked by their unexpected presence.  I was awed and horribly embarrassed.  Then foolishly, I let my wing get caught on something — a child’s mistake.  So I was also in both physical and emotional pain.  Embarrassed was a far from adequate description.  I was mortified.  I jumped to my feet quick as lightning.

When I got up so fast, the kitchen seemed to tilt.  Large black spots danced before my eyes.  The ringing in my ears became a roar.  Abruptly everything stopped.

Everything was gone.  Light.  Sound.  Pain.  But not fear.  I strained my eyes to see in the sudden advent of a dank gray world.  In my mind I squirmed.  This colorless place was familiar.  The awful vision that brought about my situation — was I having it again?  I was sure it was the same place.  However, this felt even more real than my vision.

A shaky breath crept into my lungs.  I blinked trying to clear my eyes.  The blurring left my sight, but the world around me was still murky.  Tan would have been a bright color in that place.

Abbey,_Edwin_Austin_Fairies

Edwin Austin Abbey, Fairies, circa 1900

Someone was talking to me.  I knew that voice well, although it had a different edge.  I swayed as I turned toward the voice.

Dah-le!  So you made it back, did you?”

My vision was blurry, but I saw black clothes relieved only by a scarf and boots in bright purple.  My eyes found the hazy face of River Mindshadow.  However, something was not right.  I blinked hard and looked at her again.

“What?  You’re not River!” I exclaimed, feeling more alert.

“Hahaha!” she barked a guffaw that was unlike the lilting laughter of River Mindshadow.  “Who?  It’s me, Rotten!  It’ll hurt my feelings if you forgot me so fast.  So, did you come back to tell me more of your saccharine dreams?  I admit they were entertaining.”

“I remember.  You’re called Rotten Soulfire.  You were in my vision,” I recalled, and she gave another harsh laugh.  “You’re like my friend River Mindshadow — but, but not.  You aren’t exactly opposites though…  It’s as though one of you is from sunlight and the other is from shadow,” I said without thinking, and then I worried that she, Rotten, would be offended.

“Does everyone in your dream have a counterpart in reality?  Oh, you look confused.  Should I say in my reality?” Rotten asked in a playful voice, but there was a wicked gleam in her eyes.  “I wonder if we could get the two together.  That sounds like a ton of fun!  I mean, can you imagine the looks on all their faces?  The self-important snots here and the goody two shoes you told me about?”

Rotten leaned closer and looked at me curiously before continuing, “I’ve been looking around since the other time I saw you, Bedlam Thunder.  Far as I can tell, you don’t exist,” she commented in a pointed tone that was speculative but somewhat suspicious.  “So maybe you really are from some goody-goody faery-verse.  But maybe you really belong here instead of in your home.  I mean a moniker like Bedlam Thunder?  That’s not a sweetness and light name like the ones you’ve mentioned.  It seems like you should have been called something sugary like Fleur Rainbow!” she said and collapsed in a gale of laughter.

Her brows knitted and she added, “You don’t look so good.  Hold on, what’s that on you back?  Holy moma!  Wings?” she asked, still laughing.  “You been to a cos party?”

Then Rotten’s face transformed in an expression of confusion and concern.  She hesitantly pushed away the flap at the back of my dress that allowed for wings to unfold.  It was a typical fashion among the faeries of Thistledown.  Faery clothes were often backless, to allow for wings.  However folks in Thistledown were quite modest so flaps or even caplets were attached to cover the back.  Plus flight was mostly a means of traveling.  We didn’t go zooming around willy-nilly instead of simply walking.

1 Butterfly wing

“There’s a little blood here,” Rotten commented, still sounding puzzled.”

Then she touched the joint where my wings depended from my back.  Rotten quickly drew back her hand and gasped.  She looked at me with bulging eyes.

Holy moma—  Oh sweet—  Holy—  They’re real?  They’re real!  Oh my God!”

My grand-uncle once told a story of a place where faeries had no wings.  I thought it was just meant to frighten us.  Could it be that this girl had no wings?  That was hard to imagine.  However, her shirt was tailored to her body.  It couldn’t have been comfortable.  It would have been too confining across the shoulder and wing area.  Were wings something strange and alien to her?

I looked at Rotten in consternation.  I didn’t know what to say.  Finally I told her I had caught my wing and made a small tear.

Ouchers!  That couldn’t have been fun,” she commented, regaining her composure but still sounding tentative.  “Tell ya what.  You ran off pretty quick last time.  Why don’t you stick around?  Come and meet some friends.  We’ll see what trouble we can get into,” she offered to my surprise.

I would have been amazed by what had to be a quick recovery, if indeed Rotten was from a place where folk didn’t have wings.  However, she was clearly unsettled.  I believed she was trying to hide her uncertainty.

“Hey!  Rotten!” came a new voice.  “Oh, there you are.  Dah-le!  Who’s this?” she asked.

As the owner of the voice came into my field of vision, I realized she wasn’t alone.  Another girl, also about my age was with her.  Her long hair was dark, but I noticed several rainbow colored strands discretely tucked behind her ears.

“Come on with me Sat, don’t be shy.  Wow!  You two been having a smack down?  She looks a little rumpled.  Wait a minute.  That looks like a wing,” commented the newcomer, abruptly perplexed.

I noticed that her clothes were mostly dark, similar to Rotten’s apparel.  Her hair was as black as her leather jacket.  I wondered if the dullness of this place influenced everything about the people, even the clothes they wore.  She did, however, have a bright pink top under the jacket.

“Hey Desert.  Love the shirt!  That must have gotten you a shocked look or two.  I’ll bet that’s Satellite with you,” Rotten greeted the girls, and the one with rainbow streaks gave a mischievous grin in return.

“Great timing,” Rotten added with a nod to me.  “This one is called Bedlam Thunder.  You should hear some of the stuff she babbles when she’s knackered.  I ran into her once before,” Rotten told the girl as she poked my side with her elbow.  “Bedlam Thunder, meet Desert Firesong and Satellite Frostbite.” 

Dah-le, Desert.  You didn’t tell me you had polite friends.  I’m not sure that’s socially acceptable,” Satellite joked.

“Woah!  What’s up Bedlam?” Rotten Soulfire cried.  “You having a seizure or something?  Bedlam?  Bedlam!

***

I sneezed so hard it felt like my head would come off.  The voice of Rotten Soulfire still echoed in my mind.  I sneezed again.  And again.  My nose, mouth, and even my ears felt like they were on fire.  I sat up on my elbows, but I think my sneezes had brought me upright.

“Lie back down.  You just got up too fast.  You don’t want to faint again do you?” I heard Peaches Dragonfly tell me in a voice that seemed far away.

Everyone thought I had simply stood up to fast.  Didn’t they know that I had been somewhere else?

Maybe my body hadn’t left, I thought.  My grand-uncle had told me about that kind of vision.  The mind went to one place while the body stayed in another.  The passage of time in the two planes could differ.  Was that what happened?

“Thank goodness you got here when you did!  I’m glad Field found you,” a voice said to someone else.

My face was squeezed up for another sneeze, but I forced one eye open.  The speaker was Ember Beamwitch.  The present rushed back into my awareness.  My eyes followed Ember’s gaze.

A woman in a red dress smiled brightly.  I recognized the lamp maker, Pepper Stargazer.  Some of the peppers she grew were so hot they (with a touch of fae encouragement) could burst into flame.  She parlayed that talent into making lamps.

“Morning-fire peppers work better than smelling salts,” Pepper replied.  “Are you alright, Bedlam?  Oh by the way, Peaches, I brought the party lanterns.  Anybody want to help me string them up?  Just let me know where you want the lights,” she added.

Pepper Stargazer led the cousins Peaches and Pick Dragonfly, and Ember out to where she had presumably parked her wagon.  I knew it would be filled with pepper fueled lanterns and other party lights for the solstice celebration Peaches would soon host.  Catseye Glimmer held the door for the others, and then gave us a wave before he followed.  I noticed he was much taller than the others.  Catseye was the only person I knew who didn’t have to crane his neck to look up at the furry faery, Field Yewwasp.

Oh, the furry faery had been in the room, I thought. I didn’t see him leave the kitchen with the others.  In fact, I hadn’t seen him since I recovered from my faint.  I mentioned it to Calico Rainbowforest.

“How anyone so large can move so fast is beyond me,” Calico muttered.  “He zipped out of here the instant you hit the ground.  I’m sure he went to meet Pepper Stargazer on her way here, and asked her to come as fast as she could with her swoon-remedy.  He’d be outside with the others.  I doubt he could resist tinkering with the lanterns.”

I nodded mutely.  Then I started sneezing again.  I should probably have thanked Pepper, but I couldn’t stop sneezing long enough.  I thought I was alone, so I groaned about adding inflamed sinuses to my sore wing and bruised pride.

“Maybe those ‘morning fire peppers’ work a little too well,” Calico commented with a wink.

A sneeze that had been painfully slow to come out finally exploded from my mouth.

I found myself telling Calico about the vision that had just overtaken me, despite my fear that my vision would be made public.  She promised not to write about it in the Thistledown Trumpet unless I was ready.

L0059071 Turn pin spectacles, steel wire, eye preservers, double fold

Turn_pin_spectacles, circa 1800

When I finished describing what I had just seen, she took a deep breath and pushed her spectacles back on her nose.  Though I had only told her about the most recent vision, it was outrageous enough.  I didn’t go into the bigger, truly frightening one.

Calico got up and moved to the big sideboard.  She picked up a cut crystal bottle containing a sparkly amber colored cordial and two glasses.

“Here, Bedlam.  This will do you good under the circumstances,” she murmured handing me a glass of the cordial.  “It sounds like maybe you’re ready to tell the full story, but let’s wait until everyone is together.  There’s no point wasting your strength to tell it twice.  I realize it’s traumatic for you to even think about discussing it,” Calico said knowingly.

Calico was right.  I did feel better after drinking the cordial.  The magic Peaches Dragonfly had with baking seemed to work in everything she made.  We went outside to watch as the lights were hung.

Glitter Shimmerling arrived in a small carriage powered by a score of chipmunks happily running in their exercise wheels.  To the delight of all, she brought a rose covered chocolate cake and offered everyone a slice. 

She let the chipmunks out to cavort with Stellar the cat.  Stellar chased the chipmunks then playfully turned and they chased her.

From the moment the vision overtook me, the one that started all the trouble, I had feared it was prophetic.  I couldn’t be certain, but the one I had just seen with Rotten Soulfire and her friends was the same place.  However, it seemed more real, more current.  I shuddered thinking that such a place could be real, that perhaps my home could become such a place.

Even though I felt uneasy with them, Rotten, Desert, and Satellite didn’t seem “bad.”  However, their home surely was a dark place.  Could there be a place where kindness was seen as stupidity and civility was viewed with contempt?  Would that negativity seep into all the people?

Although I didn’t remember it, Rotten Soulfire told me I had described my world as “sugary.” Wherever her world was, nearly everything I saw was dark, dull, or black.  I wondered what Rotten would make of Glitter’s chipmunk powered carriage or her naturally shimmering lavender hair.

End Episode 3

***

Hypothetically, I’d like to imagine this serial as a TV show.  The mystery folk (the people who named characters) would be actors playing roles in the show.  The new mystery folk who were revealed in this episode:

  • Kathryn of Another Foodie Blogger and Austin Street Tacos
  • Robbie Cheadle of Robbie’s Inspiration
  • Olga Núñez Miret (but this time the dark faery-verse or “scary faery”)
  • Adele Marie Park (a scary faery) of Firefly 465
  • Vashti Quiroz-Vega (another scary faery) of The Writer Next Door

Be sure to come back next time for another episode of Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam.  It’s only here at Teagan’s Books.  Mega hugs!

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © July 2, 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 

The Art of Taking a Break: Rolling on a Riverboat

In the USA the Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated this week.  I’m grateful for those of you who have continued to visit and offer encouragement even though I’ve stopped giving away episodes of a novel or serial.  I’m thankful for you.Crystal w-Story Jar 06-29-14

My National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) story, The Delta Pearl, is set on a very special riverboat.  It continues to roll on the river, often propelled by “three things” I’ve been given by you, or taken from my jar of random things.  It’s keeping the big wheel turning.

Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary 1971

Thanks to Sally G. Cronin for reminding me of that version of the song. (I hope it’s still available when this post publishes. The first recording I used was taken down.)  

This week some of the “things” I used were from two marvelous writers who have been wonderful sources of support for me.  I said I had been editing this post. I decided not to show you the snippet I first had in mind.  However I still want to give a mention to the two writers who left “things” that I used this week. 

Teresa (Tess) Karlinski  posts marvelous travelogues, allowing us to share in her adventures.  Her brilliant stories are also featured in anthologies.  Tess left Montreal, Harpsichord, and Soup for her three things. I’m sure you will enjoy her vivid stories and travels.

Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel has been with this blog since its very beginning.  She happens to have two new releases. Give yourself a romantic treat with Christmas at Love House and Whispers of Forever.  Mary’s things were Victorian, Engineering Drawing, and Peculiar.

My Writing Process1800s-riverboat

I just revised this post (thank goodness, else I wouldn’t have known about the first video problem).  I can’t decide whether to share with you a snippet from the prologue or the beginning of chapter-1…

You see, I wanted the opening to connect strongly with the prologue, even though time had passed and the narrator’s life had changed greatly.  So I think I’ll show you both so you can see how I’ve tied it together.  (In other words, I couldn’t decide, so I’ll show you both.)

Here’s a bit of The Delta Pearl:

Prologue

The first time I saw the Delta Pearl I was eight years old.  My grandpa had died three days before.  He was sick for a long time before that.  I asked Moma if Grandpa had seen the riverboat.  I didn’t see what was wrong with the question, but apparently something was.  It made her angry and she never answered me.

Later, relatives descended upon our house bearing all manner of food.  There was some hugging and handshaking, but eyes were mostly dry of tears.  They didn’t cry much, my family.

Moma and Nana used every flat surface available as they tried to sort all the food into some kind of edible order.  As they got creative about how to make room for every cousin’s best cooking, I made for the back door.wooden-porch-close-up

Pushing the door open, I stepped onto the little porch.  When the screen door banged behind me I cringed.  Moma always yelled at me about that.  It seemed impossible to close it without the bang.  However, when she called out she didn’t mention the door.

“Em!  Emerald Perlezenn!  You stay away from that river,” she hollered.

So of course I went to the river.  The gentle sounds of the water always helped me come to terms with things I didn’t understand.  The river comforted me.  At that moment, I really needed the river.  Besides, I thought, I might finally see the riverboat.

So I trotted down narrow paths Nana called pig trails.  Rounding curves, dodging brambles and tree roots, I eventually got to the riverbank.

The riverboat, the Delta Pearl, was a legend along that part of the river.  Few people had seen her.  As for the ones who claimed they had seen the riverboat, everybody seemed pretty sure they were lying.

Some said the riverboat was haunted.  Others claimed it was the river’s version of the Lost Dutchman, cruising the river for eternity.  Most had it that if you saw the Delta Pearl you were marked for death.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Of course the Delta Pearl is not real, Em.  It’s just a story,” Moma always said.  “There are too many places around here where a boat like that can’t go.  It couldn’t get through.  Now I’ve heard enough of that silliness, and I’d better not hear another word from you about it.”

I walked along the very edge of the bank.  Now and then my foot slipped, because I was so close to the edge.  I backed away to clean the mud from my shoe.

The fluttering sound of a bird taking flight came to my ears.  An odd clicking sound caused me to look up into the trees.  Pine needles showered down and I covered my eyes.  I spotted something brass colored as it streaked across the blue sky.

That seemed like a strange color for a bird.  It looked almost like metal, but that was too impossible, even for my active imagination.  My eyes followed the bird as it flew along the river.

As I sat there I listened to the music of the water as it lapped against the shore.  It gave me a dreamy feeling.  I gazed vaguely down the path the river had carved eons before.  Sunlight glittered the surface of the water.  I imagined the tiny reflections were diamonds and tried to count them.

Squinting at the brilliance, I thought of what it would be like to be a grand lady with strands of diamonds at my throat and in my hair.  I thought of her suitors asking for a dance.  So I stood and turned and turned, dreaming of the dance, while I spun around and around.

I staggered to a stop, enjoying the sensation of the dizzy world seeming to sway around me.  Stumbling, I held my arms out for balance as I faced the river.

That’s when I saw the Delta Pearl.

***

Chapter 1:  Dance

jenna-coleman-and-rufus-sewell-as-queen-victoria-and-lord-melbourne

Jenna Coleman and Rufus Sewell

A silver thread glittered as the morning sun streamed onto the deck.  At the end of the filament was a purple clockwork spider.  It skittered across the wooden floor before vanishing behind a crate.

In the arms of a truly expert dancer, I twirled and spun until the world whirled dizzily with me.  My partner’s impeccable sense of balance never faltered.  We danced high above the river, on the hurricane deck.  Dozens of fluffy white clouds blurred into one as he twirled me rapidly around and around.

Like diamonds, I thought as sunlight reflected brightly on the strands of triangular waxed flags strung above the deck.  The sound they made as they fluttered in the breeze reminded me of startled birds taking flight.  It took my mind to the day, years before, when I first saw the Delta Pearl.

I missed a step.  The Dealer stopped our dance.  He looked at me with what passed for concern on his less than mobile features.  He blinked before speaking in his quasi French accent.

“Émeraude, are you well?  Do you tire?  Perhaps the sun is too much?” the Dealer asked.

One would never realize it just by looking at him, but the Dealer was compassionate and nurturing.  Sometimes I felt he was too consoling, though that quality had benefits in his occupation.  I had to admit that I seemed to receive more of his nurturing behavior than did the rest of the crew.louis-jourdan-as-the-dealer

Of course he had a name besides the Dealer.  He called himself Jaspe.  To my ears he pronounced his name ZASH-pah.  However, more often than not he was simply referred to as the Dealer.

I smiled and shook my head before speaking.  “I was merely distracted, Jaspe.  You are a much better dancer than I.”

“Ah, but cher, I am named for a rock — jasper,” he reminded me, using the English pronunciation to refer to the semiprecious gem.  “I claim no more talent than the rock whose name I bear,” he replied, self-deprecating as always.  “Besides, I have had so very long to perfect the steps.  You are much improved,” he complimented me with a graceful, sweeping bow.

The Dealer gazed at the horizon.  He raised a white gloved hand to shield his eyes from the bright sunlight.  I knew he saw much more than I ever could.  After a moment he spoke.  “We will be in port soon.  Best we get to work, eh?”

I couldn’t help watching his graceful movements.  I wanted to ask just how long he had been perfecting his dancing, how old he was.  His name, Jaspe was French for jasper, and his accent clearly bespoke New Orleans.  Yet, I knew he discussed neither his age nor his origins.  I was sure the Captain knew from where Jaspe hailed, but our skipper was not inclined to gossip.

However, the unspeakable, nagging question to which I most wanted an answer about the Dealer was not the number of his years.  Rather I wanted to know whether or not he was in fact a man at all.

***

The Delta Pearl is sedately rolling on the river.  It might never be a speedboat, but at least the big wheel is turning.  Mega hugs!

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

 

 

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 26

3 Things, 3 Tags, & 777

An Author Spotlight

The steam locomotive to the Victorian Era is on the way, but it has to make an extra stop.  It’s too difficult for me to post more than once a week, so please forgive me for doing a combination today. Before the engine reaches our Steampunk platform it’s going through the 777 Switching Station.

Locomotive at Switching Station

The train is at the switching station because I was triple-tagged for the 777 Writer’s Challenge.  I was tagged by three delightful blogger-authors.  I hope you’ll enjoy their blogs.

The Rules:  Go to page 7 of your work‑in‑progress, scroll down to line 7, and share the next 7 sentences in a blog post. (Rather than tag anyone, I’m opening the challenge to all.  Anyone who wants to take up the challenge is welcome to do so.)

Guitar Mancer Cover 11-28-2014A few times recently I’ve promoted my novel (Atonement, Tennessee), and the sequel that’s in the works. So for this challenge I’ll share a snippet of another work in progress (WIP) that I put aside in favor of finishing Atonement in Bloom(It doesn’t really matter, since I haven’t had time to work on any novel…)  Admittedly, I tried to manipulate the rules, but I still didn’t come up with a snippet that I was satisfied with sharing… Such as it is, here is my “777” from “The Guitar Mancer.”

Set-up:  The Guitar Mancer is a quirky urban fantasy. It opens on New Year’s Eve, 1969 in Nashville, Tennessee.  My 777 comes from the prologue, which centers on the villain, an evil supernatural being who is able to access power through music… (And put Chuck Berry in the back of your mind. I said it’s quirky.)

“I am still weak from countless years underground — obtaining an instrument that is well bonded to a mancer would restore me completely,” the man who called himself Yamata Orochi murmured.

Stepping outside his cell, Orochi bent to touch the incapacitated guard’s face.  “What was the instrument?” he demanded roughly, and the injured guard arched his back in agony as the answer was dredged from his mind.

“A strange concept for an instrument,” Orochi murmured.  “An electrical guitar?  Yet this electrified guitar invoked the power quite well in the music that renewed me.  Now, where do I find this place, Deep-Down Louisiana close to New-Or-Leans… among the evergreens?” quoting from the song, he compelled the poor guard to answer.

Okay… with that bit of blog-keeping out of the way, on to the serial!  The three things that fueled the steam locomotive for this episode are from an author who is a great supporter of this blog — the outstanding Olga Núñez Miret.  She has a newly released Young Adult series called Angelic Business.  For a limited time, book-1 is free!

Angelic Business trilogy

Now, without further ado… All aboard!

From last time…

“Hurry!  Get inside,” Cornelis ordered pointing toward the building that was the laboratory of the version of him that inhabited this world. “Quickly,” he added with a sharp pat to the goat’s rump.  “Hang on tight, Copper!” he called.

The lavender goat bolted toward the laboratory, carrying Copper on her back.

“What was that?” I exclaimed.

Cal Hicks came to himself as we all ran behind the goat.  “I was so sure it was dead,” the amethyst ape said.  “That was the hunting call of the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!

Lovers Eye Brooch

26.  Glass Eye, Silver Vinaigrette, Sextant

“I feel funny,” Copper said and indeed she looked pale.

The one eyed one horned flying purple people eater roared a terrible screech a moment before, though the creature was not within our sight.  I thought all the excitement must be too much for the girl.  Copper, Corneils, Cal Hicks, and I hurriedly hid from the beast in the huge laboratory that belonged to the amethyst world’s duplicate of Cornelis Drebbel.Copper pensive

Copper got down from the lavender alpine goat that had playfully carried her into the building.  She really did seem unsteady.  Absinthe had been concerned about us consuming the water of this strange place.  I wondered if something she ate or drank at tea disagreed with her.

Frantic cries from outside caused Cal Hicks to dash to the door.  When he opened the door, the violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper rushed inside.  She was in a terrible state, having heard the roar of the flying beast.  She sank to a stool that was nearby.

“Viola!  Whatever brings you out here?  Were you hurt?  Did you see the beast?” Cal Hicks asked in a single breath.

Reading Ape purpleThe housekeeper shook violently.  I stooped down to see if she was hurt or unwell.  That was when I first noticed that she had a glass eye.  (Of course the eye was purple.)  It was also the first time I realized that she must be elderly.  There were broad strands of pale lavender in her reddish purple hair.  It was not until that moment that it occurred to me that those pastel streaks would be the same as gray hair in our world.

Cal Hicks turned to us and described how the purple people eater had attacked the village where Viola grew up.  She had been among the casualties.  He discretely indicated that her eye had been one of her wounds.  It was no wonder just hearing the creature frightened her to such an extent.

The amethyst ape seemed to know his way around the laboratory quite well.  I thought he must have worked closely with the purple version of Cornelis Drebbel.  He went directly to a table that held many intriguing devices.  Cal opened a drawer and removed an intricately designed silver vinaigrette.  An invigorating scent drifted over to me when he took the vinaigrette to Viola.  The aroma seemed to revive her.silver vinaigrette

Smelling salts?” I inquired.

“No, not precisely.  Rather than ammonium, it’s a restorative herb,” Cal explained.

Assured that Viola was only over-excited and not injured, I stood up again.  As I moved I felt suddenly lightheaded.  There was also an odd hollow feeling at my heart.  My ears were ringing.  I closed my eyes, placed my hand to my solar plexus and took deep breaths.  When I looked up I noticed Copper sitting on the floor, the lavender goat nuzzling at her hair affectionately.

I tottered a little as I stood.  Viola handed me the vinaigrette and patted my arm in a grandmotherly way, but I wasn’t experiencing the vapors  as she had.  Whatever I was experiencing it was not from the emotional response that upset the housekeeper.  She nodded, encouraging me to inhale the scent.  I found that it actually did help.  I took it over to Copper, suspecting that whatever had overcome me was also the cause of her discomfort.

“Viola, you must have run to catch up with us,” Cal said.  “Whatever was so important?”

Victorian Ape Couple“It’s the family.  They’ve returned.  I wanted to make sure they got to meet your extraordinary guests, but I wanted it to be a surprise for them.  So I hurried here, only telling them that I was going to fetch you,” Viola explained.  “Then I heard that horrid beast.  I’ll never forget that awful day!” she cried, tears leaking from her good eye.  “So I ran the rest of the way, fearing for your safety — for all of you.”

When Viola uttered the word “family” Cornelis paled.  He looked from me to Copper.  “You’re not feeling well,” he said and it was a statement not a question.  “They are too close,” he muttered worriedly.

“Who do you mean?” I asked unsteadily.  The dizziness was making it hard for me to think.

“Your doppelgängers!  They are too close.  That’s why you feel ill.  A hollow feeling?  Dizzy, ears ringing?  Am I right?” Cornelis demanded and I nodded apprehensively.  “You must not get any closer to your doubles from this world!” he said, including both Copper and me.

At the excitable tones from Cornelis, Absinthe poked his head up from the alchemist’s jacket pocket.  The tiny fairy stretched his wings and then fluttered to a long worktable that was covered with charts, maps, and scientific looking implements.  The Green Fairy inspected the maps and drawings carefully.  He was just as thorough when he began to examine the contrivances scattered across the table. Sextant

He was also remarkably silent.  Though I’d never heard him utter an actual word, the tiny skunk-looking fae usually muttered, chirped, or grunted most of the time — especially if he was intrigued by something.  However, Absinthe seemed quite serious as he investigated the strange implements on the long table.

He stopped abruptly when he came to a gleaming brass sextant.  It was beautifully decorated with amethyst cabochons.  The navigation instrument was supported by two exquisitely formed gold mermen.  The apparatus sat on a wooden base of purple streaked mahogany.

Absinthe checked the sextant closely, finally muttering very quietly.  However, he still didn’t seem to be himself.  For a moment I wondered if he had a doppelgänger nearby as well.  Then the Green Fairy sighed resignedly.  He looked up at Cornelis and chirped something that the alchemist seem to understand.  They exchanged a sad look.

The Dutchman moved to examine the sextant.  He muttered in much the same manner as Absinthe.  Finally he nodded.  “Yes.  This should do the trick,” Cornelis said with a decisive nod.

He turned gravely to Absinthe.  “Can you take care of the err… the Purple Fairy?” Cornelis asked the tiny Green Fairy, and Absinthe nodded, again with that sad resigned attitude.

green skunk palmThen with a sharp pop Absinthe disappeared.

“What Purple Fairy?” I wanted to know.

The amethyst ape seemed to grasp the fact that was eluding my dizzy noggin.  I struggled to catch up to their thinking, but I felt so woozy.  I vaguely remembered the amethyst ape calling the purple people eater a fae — a fairy.

“Oh you don’t mean?” Cal Hicks gasped with a horrified expression.

Viola echoed Cal’s sudden inhalation, putting a hand to her mouth.  “No.  You can’t mean that very small green creature is going out to confront the giant one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!” the violet chimpanzee housekeeper exclaimed.  “Why the poor little thing won’t last a minute.  Please! Can’t you call him back?”

***

Will the doppelgängers of Felicity and Copper come any closer?  What will befall our heroines if they do?  

Absinthe and Cornelis seemed so sad. Could it mean that the tiny Green Fairy means to sacrifice himself?  What will become of Absinthe if he confronts the purple people eater?  And what about that sextant — what might it do?  Or perhaps I should ask, what kind of trouble can it cause?  Be sure to be at the train station next time!

***

Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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